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Waddington will host Civil War presentation Wednesday

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WADDINGTON – The north country’s connection to the Civil War is stronger than geography might suggest, according to one history expert.

St. Lawrence County Historical Society member Daniel W. Buckley will chronicle the lives of north country soldiers at a presentation on the Civil War at the Hepburn Library, 30 Main St., next week.

“The north country has an incredible wealth of history,” he said. “Many people think we were so detached from the fighting, but many of our soldiers headed south during the war. It was a big time for the north country.”

Mr. Buckley will highlight the 60th Infantry Regiment, which included troops from Ogdensburg, Morristown and Lisbon.

“Many of the soldiers manned guns in Washington, D.C., and served on the front lines at the Battle of Gettysburg,” he said.

He will also discuss the heroics of Colonel Newton Martin Curtis, Ogdensburg, a two-time Medal of Honor winner who personally led each assault on the traverses and was four times wounded at the Battle of Fort Fisher on Christmas Day 1864.

“A high-ranking general leading and commanding a battle of that size was almost unheard of at that time,” Mr. Buckley said.

A statue of General Curtis stands by his grave in the Ogdensburgh Cemetery.

Through the use of artifacts such as bayonets, bullets, uniform pieces, and food, Mr. Buckley will showcase what daily life was like for the Confederate and Union armies. For many of the soldiers, the era was far removed from the swooping romanticism illustrated in the 1936 book and the 1939 film Gone with the Wind, Mr. Buckley said.

“The impression is there,” he said. “The Victorian Era-Romanticism and Napoleonic-type soldier is definitely represented in literature and in history books. In the letters from soldiers writing home they do speak romantically, but on battlefield there was a lot of hardship.”

Mr. Buckley pointed to one statistic which states for every one soldier killed in combat, three died of disease.

“It was an era where battlefield medicine was still in its infancy,” he said. “Many advances were made in the types of treatment.”

Prosthetic limbs became the number-one industry after the Civil War, he said.

Mr. Buckley said what usually excites most people about his presentation is the way he describes the subjectivity of the individual soldier and people of the time period.

“When you start talking about the common people and who they are and where they were from, people can relate to it,” he said. “They will say they know that person or where they lived, and they suddenly develop a personal connection with someone who lived in the 1860s.”

The presentation will be held 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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